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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Friday, 19 September 2014. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

A YOUTH worker is to be paid for by housing developers thanks to negotiations led by the Wantage Deanery Synod. The synod's pastoral committee is working to give a 'voice to the voiceless' by calling for community facilities to be included in plans for thousands of new homes in the currently small Oxfordshire town.

Father Michael Berrett, who serves in the Wantage Benefice, has been involved. Father Michael said: "We were concerned because of the lack of social facilities that were being planned, there were lots of houses but not much in relation to community facilities.

We have submitted written representations at various stages of the planning process.

We are drawing attention to what a community needs to flourish.

Jesus came amongst us bringing life in all its fullness to all. "We are trying to stand up for the voiceless and enable the community to have community and spiritual facilities so we are keeping an eye on the process, getting involved with the neighbourhood plan. "As the Church we haven't got a financial axe to grind, we are a neutral party interested in the common good.

We are looking for provision of places of worship.

We have successfully negotiatied the employment of a youth worker with S106 funding. " S106 agreements are conditions negotiated between developers and local authorities as conditions of planning permission. Meanwhile major refurbishment work is planned for Holy Trinity, Charlton in Wantage to turn the 19th Century building into a multi-purpose centre. Toilets, a kitchen and a new meeting room are hoped to be added to the building, which was designed more than 100 years ago by WH Masters.

Holy Trinity is the daughter church of St Peter and Paul in Wantage. The vicar, Fr John Salter, said part of the inspiration of the work is mission to the current community and the people who will be moving into the 1,500 new homes planned for the eastern edge of the town. Fr John said: "We have a parish hall opposite the church that is completely inadequate.

There is a flight of steps to the front door which rules out disabled access.

Our plan is to sell that building and to redevelop the church into a centre for worship on Sundays and activities during the week. " Fr John said the new building would include space for Sunday meetings for young people, separate to the main Mass and for a parent and toddler group and other events.

It was expected the work would cost around £250,000 and hoped that the sale of the parish hall would provide funds for some of it. "The housing developments include the Crab Hill Development - 1,500 houses, close to Holy Trinity, Charlton, and Grove Airfield, where there are 2,500 houses.

The Grove Airfield Developer has funded the youth worker under a S106 agreement.

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